Melody Carlson’s “Courting Mr. Emerson” is a delightful tale of life and love that will leave you with a goofy little smile on your face.
George Emerson is in his mid-50s and facing retirement as a teacher. Prim and proper, traditional, particular and sensible, George just isn’t sure what he will do to fill his very structured time once he retires.
That is, until Willow West walks into his life, asking for a letter of recommendation for her college-bound grandson, Collin. Artist Willow is everything George is not — spontaneous, carefree, a person who literally grew up on a hippy commune. And she seems to be able to continuously draw him into situations he would never dream of doing.
As George and Willow’s paths keep crossing, they find themselves drawn toward each other, yet driven apart by their differences, much like oil and vinegar. Can they put aside their differences and come together? Will they each be able to draw out the best in the other?
Told in back-and-forth perspectives between Willow and George, “Courting Mr. Emerson” is a sweet tale filled with laugh-out-loud moments, tear-jerker times, and moments of conviction. It’s a story of overcoming loss, second chances and finding love again, even in our more senior years, and finding and offering forgiveness.
Melody Carlson also does a fantastic job of developing delightful characters, full of quirks, crazies and relatabilities. You will love both wild and free “overly enthusiastic” Willow and quiet and sensible George. And you will root for them from the very beginning.
But besides being a sweet love story, “Courting Mr. Emerson” also offers some amazing lessons, reminding us that God can fill our emptiness; we can only live one day at a time; the theme of religion versus relationship (with God); and putting your trust in God and His very existence and realness. As Willow tells George: “But George, if God is real — like I believe he is — I will be exceedingly thankful that I did believe in him. Not only because of a satisfying early life, but because I’d like to continue a loving relationship with God throughout eternity.”
I think fans of Jan Karon’s Mitford series will enjoy this book, as it has a bit of a Father Tim/Cynthia/Mitford vibe.
One disclaimer, there are brief references to pot usage.
Five stars out of five.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.